Asian Vegetable Soup

Quick, simple, and made per person, this soup is great for dinner for one, two or five!
Quick, simple, and made per person, this soup is great for dinner for one, two or five

So while I am a firm believer that great food takes time, sometimes we just don’t have it. And although great soups often take hours of simmering to create deep flavours, sometimes a nice, quick, light soup is all you need to warm you up and keep you nourished.

Not only is this Asian Vegetable Soup speedy, but it can make one bowl or 5 bowls…whatever you need. Plus, if you’re really in a hurry you can replace all the fresh veg with the equivalent of frozen Asian veggies and no one would know! Should you want a heartier soup, add brown rice noodles to the mix and you have yourself a noodle bowl. Want more protein? Add 2 tablespoons of shredded chicken or pork, 4 cooked shrimps, or 3oz of sliced, grilled flank steak, or 3oz of fried tofu to the bowl.  To be honest, with a bit of creativity, the possibilities are endless.

 

Ingredientsimage

For each person being served:

1 cup organic, low sodium vegetable stock

1 tsp sesame oil (I always prefer toasted)

1 tsp vegetable oil

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/4 of a cooking onion, diced

1 inch ginger, chopped

2-3 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup coarsely chopped hearty vegetables (any of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped leafy greens (any of spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy)

1 handful edamame beans, fresh or frozen

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

Salt & Pepper, extra soy sauce, Sriracha, sesame seeds, fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, all to taste

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Place vegetable stock in a pot and heat through on medium heat until ready to serve.

Heat sesame oil and vegetable oil in wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté one minute. Add ginger and sliced mushroom and saute 2 minutes. Add your hearty vegetables and continue to cook, 3 minutes. Add edamame, fish sauce, 1 tsp soy sauce, and leafy greens, and continue to cook for 1-3 minutes (if only using spinach, stick to one minute; if using sturdier leafy greens use the full 3 minutes).

Spoon contents of skillet into a deep bowl (if adding rice noodles place cooked noodles in the bowl first). Pour broth into bowl, and garnish to your liking with green onions, fresh cilantro, salt, pepper, soy sauce, Sriracha and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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Thai Red Curry Soup

Thai Red Curry Soup

 

I stumbled across Thai curry paste in one of my first grocery trips in the big city and was so curious and excited. I don’t know whether it was super common then and I was just a small town girl (start singing Journey lyrics here), or whether it has now become more readily available with the popularity of Thai cuisine. Whatever the case, the curry paste in this recipe can be found at most grocery stores, and is the proverbial tie that binds everything together in a perfect harmony of delicious, creamy, spicy, sweet, soupy goodness.

This recipe is a healthier gluten free pascatarian version of the one included on the label of my aforementioned first jar of Thai curry paste, and after tweaking it for several years, this is my favourite and the easiest version. Use a Dutch Oven for best results.

Soup in a Dutch Oven always has more character and depth than cooking in any other vessel

Ingredients

4 tbsp coconut oil

3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

1/2 medium cooking onion, chopped

2-3 inches of fresh ginger root, chopped

2-3 cups of frozen Thai vegetable mix OR 2 cups fresh snap peas, sliced red pepper, sliced cremini mushrooms, julienned carrots, beans, and chopped broccoli (see why frozen is better?)

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 400ml can of whole coconut milk

1/2 carton or 450ml no or low salt vegetable broth (Add the whole carton for more soup…it just won’t be as coconuty)

1 tbsp lemongrass paste OR 1 blade of lemon grass, cut into 4 large pieces

1/2 tsp lime zest

2 tbsp Thai red curry paste

1 tbsp of coconut sugar (substitute brown sugar but know it’s not natural)

1/3 package of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes

Garnishes: Cashews, fresh cilantro, chilli flakes, lime squeezes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a dutch oven on medium heat and let warm. Add the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds. Add the onion and ginger, and let cook until the onions are translucent, 3-5 minutes. Turn pot to medium-high and add frozen vegetables to sear and avoid sogginess; cook 5 minutes (if using fresh vegetables, you can do the same but reduce cooking time 2-3 minutes).

Add fish sauce, coconut milk, vegetable broth, lemongrass, red curry paste, and coconut sugar. Stir the pot a few times, then cover and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. The soup should cook down an inch or two. Once out of the oven, remove the lemongrass pieces if you used fresh.

While the soup is in the oven, heat the remaining coconut oil to medium high and place the tofu pieces in the hot oil, turning every 2-3 minutes until all sides are golden brown. Place on paper towel to drain.

Once soup is finished, ladle into bowls and garnish with tofu pieces, cashews, cilantro, and chilli flakes. Squeeze the lime over the soup, then drop in the bowl. Enjoy!

Set up the garnishes and allow guests to build their own soup
Set up the garnishes and allow guests to build their own soup

UP THE PROTEIN: Add cooked chicken or raw red lentils to the soup before it goes in the oven.

WHEN YOU’RE CRAZY HUNGRY: Add a handful of pre cooked quinoa to the bowl before you ladle the soup in for a starch free meal, or use brown rice noodles or brown or black rice if you’re body is craving starch.

Note: This dish can be made vegetarian by adding 1 tbsp salt in place of the fish sauce, and using vegetarian Thai red curry paste.